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2019 Mackay Trophy to be Awarded to the United States Air Force Crew of Hawg 71 Flight

NAA announced on May 28, 2020 that the United States Air Force Captain Alexander E. Boules and Major Charles C. Stretch, the aircrew of Hawg 71 flight, have been named the recipients of the 2019 Mackay Trophy.

The Mackay Trophy was first presented by Clarence Mackay in 1912 and was later deeded to the National Aeronautic Association. Administered by the United States Air Force and NAA, the trophy is awarded for the “…most meritorious flight of the year by an Air Force person, persons, or organization.”

As outlined in the United States Air Force nomination, the crew of Hawg 71 were deployed from their home station of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, as a two-ship formation of A10Cs, flying out of the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 451st Air Expeditionary Group, Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. On July 19, 2019, Captain Boules and Major Stretch were tasked to support a troops-in-contact situation in which countless Afghan Special Forces were being overrun, captured, and pinned down with heavy machine gun fire and rocket propelled grenades. Working together as Hawg 71 flight, Captain Boules and Major Stretch waged a diligent battle against the difficulties of night operations, terrain, dislocated controllers, and significant language barriers to enable coordinated strikes against enemy fighters, ultimately saving the lives of 12 Afghan Special Forces members.

The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of the crew of Hawg 71 reflect great credit upon themselves and the United States Air Force.

The Mackay Trophy will be presented on a date and location to be determined.